Every State, Every Vote: Gov. Steve Sisolak Signs Legislation to Protect Voting Rights, Permanently Expand Mail-In Voting
As Republicans continue to threaten the strength of the nation’s democracy in coordinated attacks on the right to vote, Democratic governors are taking action to ensure that voters are able to cast their ballots in free and fair elections. Yesterday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak took a monumental step in expanding access to the ballot box, signing a massive voting rights reform bill that permanently establishes an expanded vote-by-mail system.
Gov. Sisolak said, “At a time when state legislatures across the country are attempting to roll back access to the polls, I am so proud that Nevada continues to push forward with proven strategies that make voting more accessible and secure.”
In a desperate attempt to cling to power after losing the Senate and the presidency in 2020, Republicans are engaged in a coordinated, nationwide effort to limit Americans’ constitutional right to cast a ballot in a free and fair election. Republicans have introduced nearly 400 bills in 48 states systematically designed to disenfranchise Black and brown voters and restrict voter turnout. Experts estimate these proposals could create hurdles for tens of millions of Americans.
Amidst these partisan attacks on the country’s democracy, Democratic governors have been critical in protecting and expanding voting rights. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy have all recently implemented key measures that make voting easy and accessible in their states.
Read more about Gov. Sisolak’s voting rights expansion below and learn more about how Democratic governors are leading the fight for free and fair elections at EveryStateEveryVote.com.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sisolak signs bills on mining tax, voting reform
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday signed into law two of the year’s major legislative initiatives, a new mining tax to benefit education and a wide-ranging bill on voting reforms.
The voting reform bill, Assembly Bill 321, makes Nevada the sixth state to enact a permanent vote-by mail system, among other reforms aimed to expand ballot access. Emergency mail-in balloting was enacted last summer at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill requires local elections officials to send a ballot to active registered voters for every primary and general election.
In statements, both the governor and Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, the prime legislative sponsor of the voting bill, noted Nevada’s move toward expanding ballot access at a time when Republican-controlled states are enacting measures in the other direction.
“As John Lewis said, voting is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy,” Frierson said, invoking the civil rights leader and longtime Georgia congressman who died in July. Nevada, he said, “shines as a leader in protecting this fundamental sacred right.”
Gov. Steve Sisolak signed dozens of bills on Wednesday, including one making widespread distribution of mail-in ballots permanent for elections and another imposing a new tax on the mining industry as part of a bipartisan compromise to raise revenue for schools and prevent more drastic tax proposals from heading to the 2022 ballot.
“At a time when State legislatures across the country are attempting to roll back access to the polls, I am so proud that Nevada continues to push forward with proven strategies that make voting more accessible and secure,” Sisolak said in a statement about the elections bill. “Nevada has always been widely recognized as a leader in election administration and with this legislation, we will continue to build on that legacy.”
The bill requires all county and city clerks to send every active registered voter a mail ballot before a primary or general election. Inactive voters, who are legally registered to vote but don’t have a current address on file with election officials, will not be sent a mail ballot. The bill will allow voters to opt out of being mailed a ballot by providing written notice to their local or county election clerk, and the measure maintains certain minimum requirements for in-person polling places.